The Smallest Co-op Feature Made These RPGs Amazing

Co-op RPGs

The Smallest Co-op Feature

There aren’t a lot of co-op RPGs out there. I’m not talking about hack-and-slash RPGs or (God forbid) MMOs. I’m talking about games like the old Final Fantasy series—character-driven, turn-based JRPG-style games. But there are two games that will forever spring to mind for me when the subject of co-op RPGs is brought up.

Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tadeuviniciusgames/5800392578/

You’ve likely heard of the latter, but Eternal Sonata flew under the radar. Probably for good reason. I mean, the whole thing took place in Chopin’s anime Lolita fantasy fever dream. Yes, that Chopin. And no, I’m not kidding.

For what it was worth, the battle system was intriguing. It was still turn-based, but during the player’s turn, they could control a character and run around the battlefield freely, attacking and casting spells in live action—for a couple seconds, and then it would be the enemy’s turn to run around and attack.

At first glance, Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX might look very different (you know, other than the big heads and insane character designs). But there was one tiny feature that connected them.

The ability to choose a controller for each character.

That one feature turned these typically single-player games into incredible co-op RPG experiences—at least for my friends and me.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG Battle
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unscripted360/968966575/

You could have a separate controller for each of a battle’s three player characters in Eternal Sonata. Yes, you’d still have one player controlling all the running around the world and buying items, but there was enough battle to make everyone sitting down for the whole game worthwhile. And given how batshit loco Eternal Sonata was, you pretty much have to be pulling a Mystery Science Theater on the cutscenes to be able to stomach it. And the best way to do that is through co-op play, so every player is invested in the characters they control.

I didn’t discover that Final Fantasy IX shared the same feature until later.  I already loved the game. But one summer, my roommate and I popped the FFIX PS1 disc into my backwards-compatible PS3. We split the characters between the two of us, and had an absolute blast playing through it.

Solitary experience

RPGs are usually a solitary experience. You absorb the story, fall in love with the characters, and feel a personal connection to the game world. They’re more like books than movies. But playing through Eternal Sonata and FFIX co-op, even if it was just the battles, was a gaming experience I’ll never forget.

FFIX Co-Oop
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alduinx/16558079596/

And it all had to do with one simple feature: allowing you to switch controller inputs for different characters.

Sure, if you wanted, you could pass the controller around. But it’s not the same, is it? It’s not co-op—it’s taking turns in the driver’s seat.

Turn-based RPGs make the feature easy to implement. After all, you’re not actively controlling multiple characters at a time. There is little difference to the game system to have the controller inputs switch for different characters. Especially when you can only control one character at a time anyway.

Indie developers and JRPG remaster…ers take note: adding that tiny feature to turn a single-player RPG into a co-op one makes a big difference to anyone who still enjoys a good couch co-op experience.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Is Almost Here!

Resident Evil 7 game

The highly-anticipated release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is almost upon us. After being teased at 2014’s E3, gamers have long been marking their calendars for the day they will finally be able to slide this baby into their consoles. Well—the time is almost here. On January 24th, we all can pretend to line up politely then make that relentless mad dash to the checkout counter. Excitement is understandable, but let try to be a “little” civilized folks. I love throwing some elbows as much as the next guy, but remember to BREATHE. We’re all gamers waiting for our copy, no fight club please.

We’re looking at an incredibly stacked year for gaming in 2017. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will be the first of the big games to drop. The horror-survival game looks incredible! Presented in the finest format available; the 4K resolution is truly awe-inspiring. The long gameplay demo release at this past years E3 conference showed an improved stunning environment. From the eerie rooms and hallways, the life-like look of the weapons, even down to the unbelievable effects of the wounds on the body and the blood.

For the first time, you will play in the first-person. Making it even more horrifying to the user experience. If that’s not enough for you, RE7 for the first time ever will also be available on VR (virtual reality) for PlayStation VR. Imagine submersing yourself into a first-person horror-survival game where all your senses are essentially being attacked while being forced to keep yourself alive. It sounds…so much fun! I honestly can’t wait for the hundreds of YouTube videos of people’s reaction to playing this on VR. Someone’s definitely thinking outside the box over there at Capcom.

In terms of gameplay, the creators have stressed “not to expect a shoot off”. Making it sound like you will need to manage your ammunition wisely if you aim to make it to the end. Calling for the much useful real life skill of improvising. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect some of lethal weapons at your disposal. You’ll be able to wield: the always handy chainsaws, powerful explosives (grenades, etc.), flamethrowers (because who doesn’t love a flamethrower?), and the original classics like handguns and shotguns.

Some of the new features include puzzle solving and healing ingredients, like herbs. The healing herbs are a huge benefit to the constant chaos and damage you’re sure to encounter throughout the game. The interesting new thing I believe is the puzzle solving. I mean think about it, imagine trying to deal with a puzzle of some kind and being attacked in waves by monsters and infected people. That battle of focus will undoubtedly by challenged to epic proportions while trying to solve a puzzle. It sounds so stressful…I can’t wait!

I’ve been trying to patient for the release of this game. Truth is, it hast happened. One of my best friends asked for this game for her birthday and I jumped for joy by preordering it as her birthday gift. She went crazy, as one sane person would. Getting the gift of joy. Of course, that joy comes in a box of horror with ominous noises. But besides that, pure joy.

We’re coming down to the end now; Under 2 weeks until the release date. This early contender for GOTY (Game of The Year) should delight fans as the past 10 have. The new improvements with gameplay, design, and format, set this game up to be played day after day. For all the gamers of the world, prepare yourself for this game. It’s one not to be missed or delayed in playing. Don’t let your friends tell you how good it is, go experience it first. Check it out on January 24, January 26th in Japan.